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Hardtack Recipe

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Hardtack bread
Hardtack bread

Little bit about the history before we proceed to the recipe. I know , i know who wants to know but to be fair i feel on this instance a little history lesson in their beginning is welll placed, so here or goes ..

Hardtack is a type of durable, dry biscuit or cracker that has a long history, especially in the context of military rations and maritime travel. It was originally developed as a staple food for sailors and soldiers due to its long shelf life and ability to withstand harsh conditions.

The origins of hardtack can be traced back to ancient civilizations, but it gained prominence during the Age of Exploration in the 15th century when long sea voyages required provisions that could endure the journey. Hard tack was an ideal option as it could last for months without spoiling, making it suitable for long trips at sea.

During the American Civil War, hardtack played a significant role as a staple food for soldiers on both sides of the conflict. It was often issued as part of the soldiers' rations due to its durability and resistance to spoilage. However, hardtack was notorious for it toughness, earning it nicknames such as "tooth dullers" or "sheet iron." It was also notorious of harbouring un invited guest , such as maggots and other bugs due to poor storage , however extra protein was welcome by many , thats why some consumed it in the dark!

So, history lesson is over, let’s cook it! So Hardtack Recipe here it goes

First things first, preheat your oven to a toasty 375°F (185°C). We want that perfect very light golden-brown colour right?

Now, grab a big mixing bowl and throw in 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of salt to give those biscuits a little extra flavour and longevity. Trust me, salt is a survival pantry superhero, especially in this recipe.

Time to get your hands dirty. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of water to the flour mixture. Stir it all up until you've got a stiff dough. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. If it's too dry, add a splash more water. You're looking for a dough that holds together but isn't a sticky mess.

Spread some flour on your kitchen counter and plop that dough down. Grab a rolling pin and flatten it out to about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) thickness. Nice and sturdy—just like we need it!

Please make sure you work tops are clean ( sorry, it is my fixation in my food preservation journey, things must be clean to preserve!!)

Now for the fun part. Grab a knife or biscuit cutter and start shaping those hardtack biscuits. You can go traditional with squares ( normally 3” by 3” )or get creative with fun shapes with your kids. It's your survival pantry so we needn’t to be gloomy all the time!

Hold up! Before you pop those beauties in the oven, grab a fork and give them a good pricking. We don't want air pockets messing with our biscuits' texture, so poke away!

Time to bake. Arrange those doughy wonders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a greased pan. Slide them into the preheated oven and let them bake for around 30 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on them—you don’t want that golden-brown colour to come through too much. Alternatively you can use an air fryer 35 min total will do nicely at 185c

Voila! Your homemade hardtack is ready for action. Let those babies cool completely, and store them in an airtight container or vacuum bag. Chose your location wisely … Im storing mine somewhere under the floorboards just for a real emergency of SHTF situation.

When you're ready to enjoy your hardtack, remember that they are tough and really dry. You will want to soak them in water, tea, or soup for about 15min to soften them up before consumption.

Hardtack bread
Hardtack in soup

So there you have it !You've added another survival superstar to your pantry. Whether you're braving the great outdoors or preparing for unexpected events, these homemade hardtack biscuits will be your trusty sidekick. Bon appétit, and keep on prepping!

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